On Damage and Danger
Moroni's Pitch

Lyndon Lamborn--In His Own Words

In following up on the story about the excommunication of Mesa, Arizona church member Lyndon Lamborn, I emailed Lyndon asking for more details about the circumstances surrounding his excommunication. He kindly responded and, with his permission, I post his response here. The words are entirely his (with a few minor editorial revisions to clean up typos or protect the identity of those whose permission for revealing their identity I did not obtain). Some of his words are stronger than what I would have chosen to use, but I think his story is important, and it has garnered enough interest, to share it here uncensored and not watered down. The words following the jump are Lyndon's own, and it is my understanding they were originally written in response to further media inquiries. My thanks to Lyndon for allowing me to share this with the readers of Equality Time.

Lyndon Lamborn--In His Own Words

After reading “Under the Banner of Heaven” and “Studies of the Book of Mormon”, I was having some serious doubts regarding the foundation of the church. I brought up these doubts to Bishop Palmer in late September 2005. The conversation eventually came around to with whom, if anyone, had I been discussing this information? I replied that I was connected with an e-mail discussion group that included my five brothers, all returned missionaries married in the temple. I expected this information to be confidential and private between us. Early the following week, I was astounded to get a phone call from my oldest brother Vern, who had just had a visit from his bishop asking about where he stood with his beliefs in the church. It turns out that Palmer had contacted all the bishops of my brothers and each one was visited by local leaders to determine what, if any, doubts they might have regarding church teachings.
From the very beginning of my research I decided to not be ‘in the closet’. I informed my wife of the books I was reading and offered them to her to read if she chose to. I talked to friends, Bishop Palmer, and President Molina on multiple occasions to update them on my progress. I also spoke to my mother regarding my misgivings with church origins, and gave her the book “Mormon Enigma” for Christmas. On several occasions, I mentioned to friends at church that I had been researching church origins as a hobby and asked if they would like me to share my research with them, the answer was generally in the affirmative. Basically, I took to heart the advice of Thomas Jefferson who taught that however discomfiting a free exchange may be, truth will ultimately emerge the victor. English philosopher John Stuart Mill said that any attempt to resist another opinion is a “peculiar evil.” If the opinion is right, we are robbed of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth. If it is wrong, we are deprived of a deeper understanding of the truth in its collision with error. There can be no objection to discussion of facts, and yes, opinions as well. Only error fears examination. Ironically, I believe it was my church missionary training that contributed heavily to my sharing attitude.

It did not take too long for my openness with my doubts and sharing of information to land me in the office of President Molina for the final time. I had just returned from Peru. Our Inca trail guide happened to be LDS, and when he asked me if I was LDS, I realized as I said ‘yes’ that I never wanted to answer that question in the affirmative ever again. My friends in the tent could see it in my face, they told me later. It was a defining moment for me. Ignoring the conclusions of my studies would be hypocritical and, in my eyes, it would be a greater sin than putting all of that behind me and carrying on as if none of it existed. Molina and I agreed to have my records removed. I decided that leaving quietly was the most polite course of action. At the end of our discussion, I left Molina’s office with the impression that I would sign some papers, nobody would have to know, and that would be the end of it. I informed my e-mail discussion group of this planned course of action (verify with Vern or others if you wish).
Well, I was surprised to receive, about 10 days later, a summons to a disciplinary council instead of some standard papers to sign. I assumed this was a formality and treated it as an exit interview. I really did not hold anything back as I spoke to the 15 men of the disciplinary council. Finally, I felt strongly that I should not have to apologize for simply being honest with myself. I made the following points:

• Each of them in their lives could expect to have loved ones become disaffected with the church, and they should remember that family relationships are infinitely more important than choices in belief systems. Religious fanaticism should never shred families!
• Each of them is called upon to bear witness as part of their responsibilities, and they should use extreme caution to avoid bearing false witness. I described the unreliable nature of the truth test in the Book of Mormon, and the reasons why the basic tenets of Mormonism must be based on faith, not knowledge.
• I boldly told them that I was not amenable to any set of rules regarding my deportment as I continue to attend church as a visitor. You have two choices, I told them, “either accept me a brother or get a court order to bar me from entering the church”. After having paid such a dear price to discover the deceptions that had consumed my soul for 40+ years, to have these men sit there and pretend to have some sort of power over me was simply too much to bear. Wasn’t it enough that I have to endure the anguish knowing that my actions would pain my family? I felt it appropriate to dispel this illusion of power in order that they understand the depth of my convictions.

In retrospect, it was probably this last statement that motivated the Stake leadership to take the extreme measure of announcing my excommunication to the adults of the stake. From my viewpoint, the announcements really would not bring with it a substantive change. Those with closed minds would dismiss any information contradicting the orthodox view regardless of what announcement is or isn’t made. Those that are opened-minded will continue to have an open mind, and listen to what I have to say from an objective viewpoint despite any announcement. That rational church leaders continue to think that such announcements actually protect the church is frankly a surprise to me.

When the announcements were not made on Sunday as promised, I chatted with President Molina to get a reason for the cancellation. He said that he has been undecided all along about the announcements, which contradicted the letter I received. He also indicated that with the newspaper article, the announcement becomes unnecessary since the word would surely ‘get around’. I believe the cancellation of the announcement was a win-win and a sound decision of the part of Molina. It spared my wife the embarrassment and shame among her peers, and it protected the church from the threat of legal action, which I found out later had happened in other cases such as mine. In any case, the promise of an announcement and the anguish it caused me and my family merited the Tribune article.
This episode shows what an "abusive parent" the church can be. The church is fine with closed-door tactics to beat you up. Starting at a very young age, the youth are interviewed for 'worthiness' by the bishop. You are called in to a closed door meeting, and interviewed (interrogated) about your 'worthiness'. Meanwhile, your real parents wait out side, not participating in this invasion of privacy.

This process continues for your entire life in Mormonism. Always behind closed doors. If you ever cross the church leadership, you will be called in and spiritually beat up to 'get back in line'. If you publicly question the church leadership, you are called in before the high council, and beat into submission again, or ex-ed. Like the old Rush song....."conform or be cast out".

The Mormon church is happy to bully you, threaten you (you will lose your eternal family !! ), and brand you with a scarlet letter, as long as it can do its dirty work without the outside world seeing in. But like a parents who abuse their kids, the church backs off when daylight is shown on their misdeeds. Abusive parents are often model citizens on the outside, and beat the crap out of their kids when they think no one is looking.

Luckily, the Tribune saved the day. The church's dirty tactics were brought into the light of day. Now, with the outside world looking in, local church leaders are suddenly silent on this matter. Funny how the leaders went from raging bull to silence in a matter of days. What changed? Only the light of day being shown on the church and its tactics. Just like an abusive parent, the church backed off with the thought that others were looking.

Many church members continue to feel the church policy to announce apostasy is justified, because it is needed to protect church members. Disaffected members, even those that have held very high offices in the church, that have had discussions with true-blue Mormons (TBMs) uniformly experience the same reaction when bringing up inconvenient facts and information. The TBMs immediately shut down and the Kevlar armor comes up like a force field. TBMs already have individual impenetrable armor, they have no need of an announcement to ‘protect’ them from anything or anybody. To believe differently is simply denying reality. The announcement tactic is pure cruelty and nothing more.
When examining the road I have travelled, some themes emerge. The church policy, as implemented by my leaders, has chosen clumsy ‘damage control’ tactics over familial relations at every turn. From the first visit with Bishop Palmer and subsequent interrogation of my brothers to the action of President Molina to block my attempt to leave the church quietly, the church agenda is crystal clear to me. Any dissenter must be painted as a monster to protect the obedient sheep, and this is to be done at all cost. This policy is as antiquated as its geriatric leaders, and is incompatible with a free-speech society endowed with critical thinking skills. It will generally do more harm than good, which is abundantly evident by the public outcry over my case.

From start to finish, my journey is the end result of perfect implementation of church policy:

• Teach Lyndon only the faithful history – this was done perfectly.
• If Lyndon discovers all the skeletons, reassure him that more intelligent people than Lyndon have already worked it all out. Both Palmer and Molina told me this, in virtually the same words.
• If this strategy does not work, put Lyndon on ‘restriction’, which will insulate him from the active members of the church. Do not allow him to have any church responsibilities.
• If Lyndon continues to attend and begins to influence others to think for themselves, hold a Disciplinary Council and excommunicate him for apostasy. This will surely drive him away and keep him from influencing other members.
• If Lyndon is unwilling to submit to the basic rule of keeping his mouth shut after excommunication, announce to the congregations in the area that he is an apostate and cannot be trusted.

I am only the symptom, the disease is church policy. My story is not about the failure of Palmer and Molina to treat me fairly. It is about poor church policy. It is about the religious fanaticism that permeates the church, which allows good men and women to act irrationally and with cruelty and feel no remorse. Brigham Young felt no remorse for the victims of the Mountain Meadow Massacre. The Al Qaeda feels no remorse for the WTC attacks. This is the hallmark of fanaticism. Only a fanatic would choose to sacrifice family relations to ‘protect the good name of the church’. Only a fanatic would ostracize a family member because of a religious belief. Only a fanatic would suggest that a questioning member stop researching and trust others to find the answers. Only a fanatic would assume that religious belief choices would break up a marriage. Luckily, I am blest to have a wife that believes in me. She may not choose my path, but our relationship, partnership, and love goes much deeper than individual religious choices. I count myself very fortunate in this respect.

Interestingly, damage control is not a stranger to the LDS church, or other churches for that matter. In the spring of 1844, Joseph Smith faced losing everything after William Law published the first and only edition of the ‘Nauvoo Expositor’, which exposed the secrets of polygamy. Smith knew it was all true, which is why he had to destroy the press. This touched off a string of events that ultimately led to his death. In more recent history, we continue to see the trend as the church closed the historical archives in 1980, purchased forged documents from Mark Hofmann in 1984-5 (some of which were for solely for concealment), and the charge from BK Packer that only the ‘faithful’ history should be taught to the Saints.

Some have asked if I intend to write a book – the answer is no. The great works of Grant Palmer, Simon Southerton, Fawn Brodie, Juanita Brooks, Arza Evans, Duwayne Anderson, and others treat the subject matter quite thoroughly. As pertaining to my personal experiences, I view my journey as being somewhat unremarkable compared to many that have preceded me, the ‘September Six’ being a prime example.
From the various people I have chatted with since the first article was published, it seems to me that the discovery process is universally all-consuming for members that feel compelled to find all the buried skeletons. Some complete their research in as little as 6 months, I took 2 years, others take much longer. Some complete their research and decide to stay in the church. Other disaffected members will tell you that the range of emotions during this period covers the full spectrum: denial, disillusionment, anxiety, anguish, distrust, astonishment, grief, incredulity, anger, understanding, exhilaration, and finally joy. It is a long roller coaster ride and takes effort, but is well worth it. After I became satisfied that the ‘restoration’ was a series of illusions, I documented my research so that I could remember what I had found to be the key points, along with the psychological aspects that are part and parcel to the LDS belief system. My summary is now on-line at http://www.mormonthink.com/lamborn.htm

It was not possible for me to really understand the mechanisms associated with LDS mindset or fully recover until I had thoroughly examined the psychology woven into the fabric of Mormonism. Outsiders scoff at the phrase ‘recovery from Mormonism’, but for me it has been and continues to be very real.
The positive realities of the LDS church are astounding. The emphasis on family, service, education, self-sufficiency, community involvement, scouting, disaster relief, etc., speak for themselves. What becomes really sad, and I know this happens regularly in the church, is when church members have to tell lies in order to continue to participate in the wonderful church programs and sense of community and fellowship. Meanwhile, those who cannot stomach intellectual dishonest really have no choice but to leave. Many have commented that a ‘reformation’ needs to occur in the church in order to stem this tide of disaffected members. The General Authorities in Salt Lake City (SLC) have to be very concerned with the rising number of resignations. I am told by a source that asked for anonymity that what used to be a staff of two people in the early 80’s processing resignations has had to be increased to 10 people to handle the work load, and that church authorities are briefed weekly on resignation statistics. (LDS church authorities may be willing to verify the staff size dynamics). Some have suggested that the resignations have reached ~100,000 per year, which is staggering.

*************Here is some Q&A [ET edit: I received from an interested reader]*****************
Mr. Lamborn,

Thank you so much for granting me the opportunity to ask you some questions regarding the circumstances leading up to your loss of faith in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and your subsequent excommunication.

Thanks in advance for your responses!

1. What was the extent of your knowledge of polygamy and its practice in the early Church prior to learning of JS's polygamy through Krakauer's book?

I had been told that most or all of the sealings of women to JS were after his death. My good friend Russell Bowers indicated that he had been told the same thing. I perpetuated this distortion while I was serving a mission and feel terrible about it.

2. At the time you found out about Joseph Smith's polygamy, what were your feelings regarding how you learned about it?

At first, I doubted the source. After verifying with several sources, I was disillusioned. Then came the hunger to know what other skeletons had been obscured from the view of a life-long member, returned missionary, 4-time Elders Quorum President, former Gospel Doctrine and current High Priest Group instructor, and former Stake Mission Presidency member.

3. If you had learned about JS's polygamy from official Church sources, i.e. a Sunday school manual, Conference talk, or CES manual, do you think you would have reacted differently to the information?

Absolutely. I may not have embarked on a research quest at all.

4. How did your ward leaders find out about your disbelief?

Regularly scheduled temple recommend interview with Bishop Larkin Palmer.

5. What conversations took place with your bishop?

I presented questions about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, the translation process, etc. He urged me to trust more intelligent men that had already worked all these things out. No need for me to do it all on my own - just a waste of time. Just pray and believe.

Then he went into damage control mode. Who else had I been talking to? Was I affiliated with any apostate groups? I mentioned that I discuss things regularly with my brothers. The following week, all the bishops of my brothers had received a phone call and each of my brothers got a visit from the Men in Black over the next 30 days. They were each questioned about their beliefs. I was very angry with breach of confidentiality and potential for strained family relations. I wrote a letter to Bishop Palmer expressing my disappointment with him immediately. His defense was his charge to 'protect the good name of the church'. A completely unsatisfactory answer for me.

5. How did this issue reach a stake level?

The Stake President was in one of my High Priest Group lessons where I challenged the truth test of the Book of Mormon.

6. During this time, how were you discussing your new discoveries with other members of the stake and ward? How did other Church members react to your dissent?

I shared information with a few, reactions were mixed.

7. How did ward and stake leaders attempt to resolve your concerns with Church history? What materials, pro-, anti- or otherwise did you consult as you researched the truthfulness of the Church?

I was directed to the FAIR and FARMS websites, which I found to be of limited value. Some of the apologist arguments are good, but most are weak. I read the Comprehensive History of the Church, portions of the Journal of Discourses, Studies of the Book of Mormon by BH Roberts, Mormon Enigma, Insiders View by Grant Palmer, Keystone of Mormonism by Evans, No Man Knows My History by Brodie, By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus.

8. At what time did you decide to surrender your Church membership? How did you let President Molina know about your decision?

During my third visit with Molina, he suggested that my membership records be removed. I think he was tired of dealing with me discussing issues with members and given them true history summaries. I was emboldened by the PBS program "The Mormons" to share more often.

9. Do you feel your excommunication was a preemptive strike to discredit you?

Yes - completely. I asked Molina for a quiet exit and got a summons instead.

10. Do you still wish to remain a part of the Church socially in spite of your excommunication?

I have mixed feelings. Sometimes I do, sometimes I think it is not worth the discomfort listening to the brainwashed drivel every Sunday. Time will tell.

11. How do you feel about being branded an "apostate"?

It is a badge of honor.

12. Did you at one time believe in the literal historicity of events and characters in the Bible and Book of Mormon? What are your feelings on those subjects now?

Yes, I totally believed. Now I think that people that still believe in the historicity of the book fall into one of three categories:
a. They have not examined the evidence.
b. They are incapable, intellectually, to grasp the conclusivity of the evidence. It is truly overwhelming.
c. They cannot be objective while examining the evidence. Ironically, it is a combination of fear and false pride (and perhaps mind control) that blocks the neural receptors and prevents normal objective evaluation of the data.

13. How do you feel about the moral teachings of the LDS Church?

Generally good stuff. A little too rigid with the sexual sins, though. Repression breeds obsession. Salt Lake County regularly rates in the top five for per-capita hits on porno sites for a reason.

14. What are your feelings towards LDS apologists and scholars who are familiar with the issues your raised but have not taken the same path you have?

In most cases, their desire to prove the church true at all costs has become a game to them, an obsession. Hugh Nibley admitted as much. Their desire to know the truth is either weak or been extinguished.

Thanks again for this opportunity -- I hope through this we can better understand the process believers go through when they discover information challenging to their faith. I think only through understanding and dialogue can we reach a point where disaffected believers are treated appropriately rather than branded as heretics and chased out of the Church.

On a lighter note, I had a co-worker come up to me and ask me what ‘excommunication for apostasy’ really accomplishes. It is akin to a boss, after reading a resignation, saying: “Hmmn, looks like you are quitting, well, just for that, YOU ARE FIRED!!!”

Comments

LDS Truthseeker

Thanks for sharing more of the story Lyndon. I think you were very courteous to the church and did your best to leave quietly but the church forced all the publicity on themselves. The church looks bad because of this, not you. You certainly don't seem like an 'anti-Mormon' to me but just another average member that found out the real disturbing truth about our church's history and opted to share the truth with those that seemed interested in it. Why should any person be made to feel bad by seeking, discussing or sharing the truth about historical issues?

Will the church ever begin to address these issues? How many more people must leave or be kicked out of the church before they start addressing the concerns of its members?

I just wish I could be a little more brave about sharing the truth with others that I care about. Well done Lyndon.

dpc

Truthseeker, everybody thinks that the defendant is guilty after the prosecution rests. Organizations are entitled to set reasonable limits on what their members say and do on the organization’s property and during their meetings. Although, as Equality said before, it is very troubling (and I mean, very, deeply troubling) that Lamborn’s bishop shared his confidences with other people, it doesn’t appear Lamborn was excommunicated for what he said to his bishop or his brothers so much as what he was teaching at church.

I wonder what the other side has to say. It seems more like a game of one-upmanship than anything.

The most surprising thing for me is that he still wants to go to the Mormon church. I’m surprised every corporation in America isn’t lining up to find out how the Mormon church can be so ruthless (as alleged by Lamborn) and yet produce such a loyal consumer. It’s like a frustrated Ford owner screaming at the dealer that he was sold a lemon and then threatening to sue if the dealership tried to stop him from purchasing another. Is it just me or does the whole situation seem really strange when you step back and think about it?

Equality

dpc,

Yes, that is strange. Mormonism produces many paradoxes, doesn't it?

Emily Carr

Yes, Mormonism produces an astonishing number of paradoxes, as well as bad analogies. Does your Ford dealer call you in ask about your deepest most personal beliefs and sexual practices? Does your Ford dealer have undue influence over your extended family, yadda yadda yadda. dpc might come up with a more convincing comparison, unless, of course, he believes that picking a belief system is just like buying a car . . .

-Domokun-

I could see the point of protesting a lemon, yet still demanding to buy a Ford if all of your extended family owned only Fords, and if you would likely lose standing in your neighborhood and business dealings if you drove anything other than a Ford, or if you lived in Detroit and would probably be vandalized if you bought a "foreign" car, or if you really, really, liked the air conditioning systems in Ford vehicles, then yeah, I could see why someone would still want to own a Ford even if they had a terrible personal experience with one car.

But, that analogy is not a good one. Religion and the church one belongs to are usually vastly more important in one's life than the brand of car one drives. If you can't see this, you have no idea of the personal anguish and hell that a disaffected mormon has gone through.

dpc

Emily, I’m not trying to make a convincing analogy. I’m just trying to highlight what a strange situation the whole fiasco is. If Lamborn had told the Stake High Council to shove it, that it would be a cold day in hell before he ever took one step inside a Mormon church, that he was determined to show once and for all the deception and immorality of the church and that he would try to convince its members not to support such an evil enterprise, that I can understand. That makes sense. That is normal. But threatening to sue to be allowed to attend a church whose tenets you don't believe in? This whole situation is just plain bizarre, regardless of where your particular sympathies may lie. I guess the desert heat does strange things to the people of Arizona.

-Domokun-

I would love it if mormons would start acting with real compassion and love instead of only memorizing scriptures about compassion and love.

dpc

I’m Canadian, so all this seriousness about religion has never made sense to me. Call that unloving and uncompassionate, but that’s how I feel.

At least I can be honest in that way. I sympathize with those who undergo a painful paradigm shift and change their outlook on the world. Any process that makes you look beyond provincial understandings is generally a good thing. I don’t believe, however, that such a process necessarily leads away from Mormonism into secularism. The people most affected by such a process are those who have to change their view the most. That’s why people who have left always point out how TBM they were before they left. They take the church so seriously that when it fails to live up to the ideals they have set for it, their whole world comes crashing down around them with the resultant disillusionment and anger. Although this anger is directed at the church, I really believe that the anger is really meant for God. One of my favorite quotes by Jean-Paul Sartre on God is: “The bastard! He doesn’t exist!” Why would a loving God set us up for such failure and disillusionment? Wouldn’t life be much simpler for His children if the scientific evidence was just a little bit more in favor of their religious beliefs? That’s why I believe that the future of the Church are those who try not to define the outer limits of their faith, but work on the core beliefs. That’s where its strength will come from. The teachings of the Book of Mormon are valuable whether or not Helaman is a figment of someone’s fertile imagination. People who look beyond the historical issues and the political issues and really look at what Joseph Smith was teaching or what the Bible says or what achieving nirvana means are people who will build perspective and understanding. I agree that it’s difficult to live in a confining social institution like the Mormon church, but it allows for its members to combat alienation and anomie that comes with living in our highly urbanized modern society. That’s why Islamic fundamentalism is such a powerfully binding force. It brings 1400 hundred years of tradition and melds it into a modern shape that brings meaning and purpose to its adherent's lives. We talk about compassion and love, but what do they really mean. In my experience, some of the most compassionate, loving people I have met are Mormons. I don’t think compassion and love are a function of religious belief, I think they are a function of a person’s inner goodness. Let’s not lump people into categories just because of how they relate to the divine.

Equality

Thanks for your comments, dpc. I appreciate your sharing your point of view. I do take slight issue with this part of your last comment: "that’s why people who have left always point out how TBM they were before they left. They take the church so seriously that when it fails to live up to the ideals they have set for it, their whole world comes crashing down around them with the resultant disillusionment and anger."

In my experience, I would say this is often true, but not always. It is perhaps more common to find this among vocal critics of the church and those who post on message boards and blogs, etc. Even there, though, I encounter many who never really had a strong testimony of the church before leaving--they were simply raised in it and it was a big part of their lives, even though they were not ultra-TBM. I think most people who leave the church do so fairly quietly (they really do "leave it alone"). The folks who populate the Internet message boards and blogs are probably not representative of the whole population of former Mormons. But I have only my own anecdotal evidence to support my theory, so I could be wrong about that.

SML

DPC ~

"That’s why I believe that the future of the Church are those who try not to define the outer limits of their faith, but work on the core beliefs. That’s where its strength will come from."

This is a beautiful thought. I wish the church could offer such a thing for its members...I can have a core belief that the church is not the One True Church, or that God as described by the scriptures and the Church is not real...yet I can't openly discuss that in church with anyone. There is no room in the Church for people who feel as I do. You write "I don’t believe, however, that such a process necessarily leads away from Mormonism into secularism"...I don't think someone like me can remain entrenched fully IN Mormonism the way the church is set up now. Conformity is key. That much is clear. It's too bad we can't be open at church with each other without fear of punishment or banishment.

WebWombat

I'm fascinated by your story Lyndon. I learned when I was very young not to trust church leaders with anything. Thus, while I've been on a 6 year journey learning the things you are learning, I have never, and will never confide in a church leader. Too much conflict of interest.

You have my admiration for your principles. It sounds from your description like the situation centered around Mr. Molina's ego and your unwillingness to accommodate it. That is always good to see.

dpc

Equality,

I agree with you on that last point. The people who fall into that category generally tend to be those raised in the Mountain West where the distinction between the Mormon religion and the Mormon culture are blurred and repression (peer pressure?) is rife. I think the pressure to conform is a lot less in the hinterlands. And that is why I would never, never, never move to Utah, even if someone offered me a million dollars. I'd be there about two weeks and you'd see my picture in the Deseret News with a caption reading "LDS Church excomunicates bitter apostate."

JV

dpc said:
"threatening to sue to be allowed to attend a church whose tenets you don't believe in? This whole situation is just plain bizarre, regardless of where your particular sympathies may lie. I guess the desert heat does strange things to the people of Arizona."

dpc,

What is so confusing about not wanting to be excluded from your culture? The religious services and activities of the Church are the very heart of LDS culture, whether you are in Utah or not. Indeed, in places where the Church does not have a strong presence, the only place you can get LDS culture is at church services. I think that is where Lamborn is coming from.

Now, whether or not the LDS Church has a right to exclude people from facilities it owns is a whole different question.

-JV

Mark

Thanks for posting this story. I wondered what the details were behind the highlights provided in the newspaper. Fascinating stuff. And bizarre, too. Being called in simply because your brother disbelieves? Maybe if it is done in just the right way, but somehow I find it hard to believe that was the case here....

LDS truthseeker

Why is it OK for the church and its missionaries to intentionally deceive people yet wrong for someone to share the truth with fellow members?

On the church property? It's not like he was getting up in testimony meeting and saying stuff. Would it make any difference if he gave people the info at their homes instead of in the church parking lot or wherever he did?

After living your whole life in the church and giving who knows how much time and money to the church and the fact that his wife and children are still active members, why is it a wonder that he still wants to be somewhat involved with the church?

It is an altruistic motive to want to share the truth with others - the missionaries do the same thing - they just don't share ALL the truth. Sharing the truth is admireable and not something to apologize for - EVER!

dpc

JV

Lamborn himself said above that he never wanted to identify himself as LDS again. Why would he threaten to sue to go to the meetings? If he just wants to experience LDS culture, then why worry about spreading his truth? If my friends are staunch Republicans and I'm a Liberal Democrat, wouldn't it strain our friendship if I kept harping on about universal health care and legalizing illegal immigrants and how evil George Bush is, especially if I knew that all of those issues were sensitive points to those friends?

LDS Truthseeker

Pilate's question "What is truth?" remains unanswered. Even He who is the one who must have had the ultimate answer remained silent.

Lamborn was sharing his interpretations of the facts, not the ‘truth.’ If the truth were so cut and dried, like you maintain, there wouldn’t be so much discussion on these issues. Facts by themselves are meaningless unless organized into a narrative. If history were just a list of facts, no one would ever read it. A good historian is a good storyteller. They have to interpret and evaluate the difference sources and arrange the facts into a logical compelling sequence of events. Even Lamborn states that he was sharing his ‘convictions.’ (Sounds like a religious term to me). Lamborn’s new found religious beliefs (or more properly, disbeliefs) are just as irrational as any religious believer’s. And nobody shares ALL the truth because nobody has ALL the truth. And just what would you like the missionaries to say? To share your interpretations of the facts? Is that the only truth there is? How would a typical first discussion go? We would like to tell you about an experience, the conflicting versions of which indicate that it mostly likely never occurred, that happened to a 14-year old boy, by two beings, the existence and nature of whom are hotly disputed. We have a book of purported ancient scripture that only really addresses nineteenth century Protestant ideas and concerns and that is completely irrelevant today. And by the way, it was the product of a fevered religious mind who automatically wrote it and most likely plagiarized from an earlier source. That our organization (that does good only accidentally) is oppressing women, (American) minority groups and homosexuals and enforcing social norms under the thinly-veiled disguise of divine approbation. Investigators and members have every right to investigate the claims of the church. I don't expect the Ford dealer to sell me on a Toyota. I have yet to hear of anyone complaining the Mormon church filters their internet content or forbids them to read certain books. I think that the church can excommunicate those who evangelize its members to their interpretation of events. There are countless stories of NOMs who hold, for lack of a better term and only when judged from orthodoxy, heretical beliefs and that haven’t been subjected to church discipline. There is a big difference between ‘I’m not sure if Joseph Smith was a prophet of God’ and ‘Joseph Smith was not a prophet of God and here’s why.’

Equality

"Lamborn’s new found religious beliefs (or more properly, disbeliefs) are just as irrational as any religious believer’s."

This is an absurd statement. Lamborn's disbelief in, say, the Book of Abraham, is based on a rational analysis of the facts concerning that book. A religious believer's belief in the Book of Abraham is not based on a rational analysis of facts but rather on a subjective personal experience. Belief in the absence of contrary evidence may be rational to a degree. But belief in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence is anything but rational.

LDS truthseeker

"If the truth were so cut and dried, like you maintain, there wouldn’t be so much discussion on these issues. "

The problem is there is no discussion by the church on these issues. The issues need to be debated on obscure forums like this one since they refuse to discuss these types of concerns in church.

I would not expect the missionaries or the church to lie. I asked the question as a youth, 'why don't we have modern-day Egyptologists look at the papyri and prove Joseph right?' I was told that everything was lost in the great Chicago fire - a lie. I asked do Egyptologists support Joseph’s interpretations of the facsimiles. I was told yes - another lie. Perhaps I can chalk up those answers to misinformed missionaries and gospel doctrine teachers.

I agree it's not cut and dry but why can't the established facts be told and then the church give their side? Why do I have to wait until some nonmember or informed rebel like Lyndon to tell me that Joseph put his face in a hat with a common stone to translate the BOM? By looking at all the pictures in the Ensign I would naturally be lead to believe that Joseph used the plates and the urim and thummim to translate the BOM.

I should be hearing these things from the church first. Had the missionaries been upfront with my family we'd never have joined. If they want to give me back the $50k or so I've paid in tithing then I'll shut up and stop railing on the church.

dpc

Truthseeker

"I should be hearing these things from the church first."

I hope that you don't work in sales if this is your expectation for private organizations to conduct their affairs!

I have raised this question many times and no one has answered it. Just why exactly is the church required to give the 'established facts' and then give their side, when we would never expect any other private organization or individual to do the same absent some kind of contract, legal or fiduciary duty? It doesn't make any sense to me. It is puzzling that it comes from people who chant the mantra of rationalism.

You had ample opportunity to investigate the claims of the church before you joined. I haven't seen a single thing discussed anywhere on the Internet or in any book that hasn't been discussed for the past 150 years. None of these historical issues are new. And religion is not the only place for myths and misperceptions to abound. Science has its own set of myths as well. Galileo and the Wilberforce-Huxley debates come to mind. I don't throw out science merely because my high school teacher repeated misrepresentations on matters they had not fully investigated. Growing up, my family discussed a lot of these historical issues. I discussed many of these things with my friends from church. Why didn't we discuss it at church? Any time used at church to discuss contentious historical issues is time taken away from lessons on developing divine attributes and learning to be better people. Any continued activity within a religion is not based on one being convinced of the historical validity of events, but based on one's experiences and relationship with the divine. Any one trying to validate religious belief with modernist ideas(and I use the term in its philosophical sense) is bound to be sorely disappointed.

Equality

Lamborn's convictions that Joseph Smith was not a prophet or that the Book of Mormon was not divinely inspired are clearly irrational, the same as belief in those types of things is clearly irrational. Although reasoned analysis may have play a part in reaching those conclusions, there are several leaps of faith needed to come to the conclusions that he did (to say nothing of the gaps in his reasoning).

Equality

"I hope that you don't work in sales if this is your expectation for private organizations to conduct their affairs!"

Hey, if you don't expect more from a church that claims to be the one and only true and living church on the face of the whole earth with which the Lord is well pleased, and which teaches its members to "do what is right, let the consequence follow," and which expects its members to be completely honest in all their dealings with their fellow man, and that claims to be holding to a higher moral standard than "the world" and "Babylon"; in short, if you think the church that is led by ongoing regular revelation from Jesus Christ Himself should not be held to a higher standard than purveyors of automobiles, then you have a point.

Equality

dpc said:
"Equality

Lamborn's convictions that Joseph Smith was not a prophet or that the Book of Mormon was not divinely inspired are clearly irrational, the same as belief in those types of things is clearly irrational. Although reasoned analysis may have play a part in reaching those conclusions, there are several leaps of faith needed to come to the conclusions that he did (to say nothing of the gaps in his reasoning)."

I disagree. His conclusions on those points are held not based on "faith" but on the most reasonable (i.e., "rational") analysis of the facts, the most reasonable and likely interpretation of which leads to the conclusions he has reached. That others may come to different conclusions is a testament to their ability to not look at the facts rationally but instead to look at facts in light of their preconceived belief about what the facts will show. John Fowles argues that the difference between a believer who knows "all the facts" and a disbeliever who is equally informed is that the believer gives Joseph Smith and the church the benefit of the doubt and makes positive inferences wherever possible. A disbeliever, on the other hand, does not give the church and Joseph Smith the benefit of the doubt, and makes negative or positive inferences based on what is most reasonable under the circumstances. This leads a person relying on reason alone to reject Joseph Smith's and the church's foundational truth claims. Only one who is already converted looks at all the facts and still believes. That's why the church doesn't want to share "all the facts" until AFTER people are already "converted" and have a preconceived bias in favor of Joseph Smith and the church.

dpc

Equality:

I’m sorry; your argument about the higher standard makes no sense to me whatsoever. What is the higher standard? And why should we accept that as the higher standard? How does the church inform potential converts of all the historical issues? Do we make them attend classes and explore historical minutiae for several years and then ask them if they want to join? I don’t believe that the process of joining a church is usually based on that. Should the church have classes in the philosophical inconsistencies of the religion? Maybe it should provide Egyptology classes so that investigators can better appreciate the problems with the Book of Abraham. What practical purpose would it serve to have the missionaries relate the four or five different versions of the First Vision? Maybe instead of distributing the Book of Mormon, they could hand out copies of Grant Palmer’s book with promises to come back and refute his arguments. In fact, starting off from your conclusion that the church is a fraud, the only way the church could be true is if it actively sought to prove itself a fraud. Another paradox? That’s why I’m confused by your argument. In my mind there is a difference between a ‘true’ church and a ‘perfect’ church. I’ve always thought as the church being true because it has a mechanism for accepting new revelation and being able to change itself depending on the circumstances. Would anyone be truly surprised if they announced that women will now be able to be ordained to the priesthood at General Conference or would people view it as a sign that the church had lost its way? Some would, but not many. Is the church perfect? Of course not, and few would argue that it is or should be.

John Fowles argument sounds great until you realize that it is based on circular reasoning. One has to start out as a disbeliever to ultimately arrive at being a disbeliever and one has to start as a believer to end up as a believer. How does one go from being a believer to being a disbeliever? At what point do you stop giving the benefit of the doubt? What motivates the change? Why would a person say, “You know what, I’ve been giving the benefit of the doubt, but now I’m not going to anymore.” Plus there are people who move from being disbelievers to believers. At what point do they say, “I’m going to give Joseph Smith the benefit of the doubt.” Do people do this because they haven’t been given all the facts? The process of religious conversion and deconversion is not so simple as that. People don’t just look at the ‘facts’, use a bit of reason and decide whether to join a religious group or not. It’s a lot more complicated than that.

Equality

"It’s a lot more complicated than that."

On that we agree. Thanks for your thought-provoking comments. I really do appreciate them.

Truthseeker

Higher moral standard? I remember when Hinckley said just that - that we need to have higher moral standards than the rest of the world. In fact a Catholic friend of mine was watching conference with me when he said that. He was offended by that remark - I wasn't. But the church doesn't follow that counsel in regards to being more open than other churches that's for sure.

I admit it's not practical to give details of viewpoints that go against the church to investigators but it still doesn’t make it right to keep such things hidden. You might say all these issues are talked about in some church media somewhere but the reality is if the members don’t know about them then they are not really open about them. Why would I go looking for other versions of the First Vision unless I knew there were others? And how do you explain the deceptive photos of Joseph translating the plates – no hat, no stone found in a well and the plates in full view of Oliver. If that’s not deceptive then I don’t know what is.

The big problem for me is that the culture of the church is to lie to protect the innocent. I had discussions with an older man just back from a mission and he knew of some of the historical problems such as the stone in hat. I asked him if an investigator asked him point blank by what mechanical process did JS translate the BOM, would he tell him what he believed to be the method? He said no. I ask is that ethical? He’s a good man that puts the church above ethics as he was conditioned to do so.

Why doesn’t the church talk about these issues to investigators? The answer is obvious – no one would join the church if the knew ALL the facts about the church’s history. I guess I must admit I would do the same thing if I cared more about the church than the truth.

JV

dpc,

I apologize for the late response.

You said:
"Lamborn himself said above that he never wanted to identify himself as LDS again. Why would he threaten to sue to go to the meetings? If he just wants to experience LDS culture, then why worry about spreading his truth?"

You are characterizing as unambiguous something that is not. Later, in the q&a section, Lamborn states that he vacillates on whether or not he wants to socialize with the LDS community. I don't know why, exactly, he vacillates, but I do know that the process he has gone through results in a lot of contradictory feelings and personal needs. It's traumatic to lose your beliefs and your culture at the same time.

Lamborn's vacillation is also understandable given the fact that his wife is still a believing member. Important aspects of orthodox Mormon marriage are severely compromised by the expulsion (or withdrawal) of one spouse from the flock, and how couples deal with the problem will vary greatly from couple to couple--completely cutting all ties to the Church isn't always the best option when keeping the marriage together is a priority.

It is easy to make heartwrenching decisions when you only have to make them in theory, but it is not easy to make those decisions in real life. Real life contains nuanced problems that are hard to predict. You and I don't know what dynamics are driving Lamborn's decisions in this regard, but the automatic conclusion that his choices are "bizarre" or hypocritical in some way seems unnecessary.

-JV

Flexible God

I think the only reason that Prez. Molina decided to announce publicly his excommunication for apostasy was not to sheild members, but to control them--

Remember one of the questions in the temple recommend interview:

Do you associate with, or symphasize with any apostates or apostate groups?

This question, combined with the announcement of Lamborn's apostate status, is an effective tool to keep members scared of talking to him, lest they become non-temple worthy...

Graham

Hi all,

Great blog here, I just wanted to take credit (responsibility? ;) for the Q&A section underneath Mr. Lamborn's more lengthy narrative. Thanks, keep up the good work!

handmaiden

This is very informative and I am glad that there is someone out there like Lyndon to spread the truth about the Mormon cult.

Jeff

Very interesting stuff, I am an active member, return missionary and most distinctly a believer. I understand why Lyndon left though there are a lot of things about the church that are shady. That we don't know or are hard to believe. I admit I question things all the time. But here is the conclusion I come to almost everytime. If I were not a member how would I conduct my life? I believe in God so I would have to choose some other path or venue to declare my belief. And when it comes down to it there is no better place to be than living an active believing lifestyle than in the Mormon faith. If a person is to follow the precepts they would come closer to god than any other way. I know that is true.
Now is the church wholly entirely true. hmmmmm NO. But is it a great way to live if possible, absolutly. And really that is what all of this is about... our relationship with God. Not how we connect with God. I personally believe that this is the best way to get back with him. And for that knowledge 10% is a bargain.

Chris

Hello All,

Lyndon, I am an RM, temple married and recently coming to terms with many of the things you have gone through and boy is it tough! I think the hardest thing is what to do when there are children invloved. I would be curious to know how your children have reacted to your separation from the church and how has that had an impact on your actions.

I have an uncle who I haven't had much association with but he is struck with constant delusions of grandeur. It is interesting to me how so much of what my uncle says is extremely intelligent and very believeable, but it is just a little thing here or there that are needed to catch him in the lie, but those things are hard to catch because he is so insistent and persuasive. I truly believe Joseph Smith was just such a type of person. IMHO he highly influenced so many around him and made believers out of so many. He was so theologically intelligent and remarkable in his writings, but the degree of his disillusionment was equally as incredible as the stories he told. Thanks for helping me understand things better. It is difficult to explain, but since learning what I have learned I have experienced a greater peace of conscience than I have ever before. It is a refreshing feeling but not an enviable one.

DLounsbury

I listened to Lamborn's illegally recorded church court. I do not trust what anyone says when they are the only one in the room who knows it is being recorded. He tries to appear gracious in the court setting, but his few seconds of smug solo commentary spoke volumes.

Lyndon Lamborn discovered some less than flattering facts about Mormonism and he threw out the baby with the bathwater. First off, I have to say that I dated a girl in High School who had three brothers who were Baptist Preachers. To answer their questions, I studied and learned about the criticisms that threw Lamborn for a loop. For example, Lamborn appears stuck, like many, on Joseph Smith's polygamy. Surely that disqualifies Joseph Smith as a prophet? Not too fast. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all had plural wives. When companionship was scarce a drunkend Noah slept with his daughters. Jacob's twelve sons of Israel killed the entire male population in the town Shechem as revenge for the kidnapping of their sister. They did this by convincing the men to be cicumcised then killed them when incapacitated. (This makes the Mountain Meadow Massacre pale in comparison). Yet Judaeo Christians look at Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Noah as great prophets. Lamborn simply set the standard too high for Joseph Smith et al and got caught "whiting the sepluchure of the prophets" in his mind when the facts are out there for anyone who wants to read a few books. He wants to blame the church for his failure to study other facts, but he could have read about this in high school like I did back in 1982. Lamborn's other criticisms are all old news and have all been answered. Space does not permit an answer to all the problems Landon had with Mormonism but sufficeth to say, they aren't any bigger than the ones I find in biblical christianity. When one sets their mind to it, any idea, orgaznization, nation or movement can be critically attacked.

The history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, like the history of these old testament prophets is one of miracles--God's ability to bring to pass mighty works through very flawed folks. Landon admits he was treated well for years by the church and church members. But why the angst if the church was so wonderful? Joseph Smith explained that when one leaves and becomes and enemy to the church the spirit of the Lord is replaced with a commensurate spirit of apostasy. The more intelligent and spirit filled before the more obsessive and apostasy filled after. Like so many, Lamborn can leave the church, but he can't leave it alone. The angst is apparent in his ongoing rants about all the money he spent on tithing and all his time he wasted for the church. Like wolves that feed on the cancerous caribou, Lamborn's present attacks are an exercise in futility and will only serve to strengthen the herd.

My personal experience with Mormomism is that it (and God!) are at the root of all that is good in my life. I am the father of seven wonderful, healthy and happy children who are finding sucess in all their endeavors. I have a loving wife and sucessful business. our family works hard, plays hard and enjoys our time together. None of this would have happened without my upbringing in the mormon church. I lived the principles I was taught and God has blessed me with an abundant life.

SML

DLounsbury ~

I found myself unable to maintain belief in the truthfulness of the church once I discovered those things (at age 34) that you say were easy for any high school student to find and read up on (which I find disingenuous to claim). You accuse Lyndon Lamborn and others like him of "simply set[ting] the standard too high for Joseph Smith et al" and claim he "got caught "whiting the sepluchure of the prophets" in his mind." I disagree with this. *The church itself* is the one setting the standard too high and making its members conform to standards that simply were not practiced in the early years of the church by the early prophets or members.

I resent the fact that if I smoke, drink alcohol or coffee, or use tobacco, I am denied a temple recommend that I'm taught is necessary for me to live with Heavenly Father again in the next life. Yet this was not a standard that Joseph Smith or Brigham Young had to live up to to enjoy the full benefits of all the ordinances and highest keys of priesthood power. Why?

If I get pregnant at BYU out of wedlock, I am faced with disciplinary action and expulsion and must quit that school and repent and be on formal probation and jump through countless hoops to square myself with God again. Yet Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and their friends were able to simply desire another woman, married or otherwise, and she was theirs if they so wished. Why?

If I teach today that Adam was in fact God the Father, I'm accused of teaching false doctrine, and I face disciplinary courts by my leaders and will be reprimanded. Yet Brigham Young was able to and DID repeatedly teach this as doctrine and revelation to the entire membership of the church he led. Why?

If I don't pay a full tithe, I am taught that I will not be worthy in God's eyes to attend the temple and participate in the ordinances required of me to get to the celestial kingdom. But it wasn't always thus. Why?

Every single member today is expected to live up to a lot higher standard than the early members and prophets themselves lived. WHY? I recognize that all religions everywhere have issues that one could find fault with, but my point is that MY LDS CHURCH held me to such high standards and made me feel less than worthy in so many ways, that when I discovered that all the "sins" I had paid hardest for in my religion were all things that Joseph Smith himself engaged in without any problem whatsoever (if you discount the tar-and-feathering and his eventual demise, may he rest in peace)--well, it was just too much to swallow, and I was done.

And once I looked at my religion with open eyes and stopped constantly convincing myself that it was true regardless of all the inconsistencies that were giving me discomfort, I realized that I can't support an organization like this one. If God himself came to me today to tell me the LDS church is designed exactly as he wants it to be, I'd still be unable to support it because I find the sexism, racism, and homophobia distasteful and wrong enough to warrant my withdrawal.

I will not support such an organization.

Tom Zelaney

I would hope that Mr Lamborn will search out other faiths and evaluate their truth content for himself rather than rejecting all for the wants of one. I wish him success in his search.

Jeannie Fritz

Dear Mr Lamborn,
Thank you for your efforts to open the doors of the lies that the church holds so tightly closed. I thought your words were direct and well done, with the help of the Holy Spirit to say the very truths that need to come forth. My own journey took over 40 years to come to a close, because of a low self esteem and the cowardist to always back down to any doulbts being totally my fault and from a lack of "faith" LDS style. My concerns came slowly and yet I was direct in asking for thier solutions, always to be told it just was my lack of faith or lack of need to know. The church presents a face when you are searching, and a face once you join, with the special truths only coming into light as you mature or grow in thier eyes. I never could buy much of it, but held tight to my faith in GOD and JESUS dispite what they preached, and in so doing, I was slowly dragged along , being truely blind to the truths that are there , if one will but look. 3 years ago, with great sincere prayers and desire, I was slowly lead to find truths to help my escape. Then 2 years ago, I read the bible and found out for myself what truth realy is. You can recieve a testimony and a warm feeling but it is in your whole being, and not just one or two places. It is an awareness that your eyes have been opened and your faith and heart are bing lead by truth. It is a feeling of total Freedom and Warmth and JOY in a way only the Holy Spirit can light up your being. When you recieve it, it convicts you to continue the search in prayers and study. It took over a year to send in my resignation, and even then I felt free and Joyful, until it came back as undeliverable, I had sent it to the Church office for the Bishop. So I resent it again with fear, until it hit the mailbox unretractable, and again the joy and freedoms and peace overwhelmed me. Of course I got a letter from the Bishop.... who himself is on the Book of Abraham documentary saying that "IF the Book of Abraham isn't true the whole church is a lie." I immedicatly sent him an email and told him to please go through with what ever it took to make me free , even though I knew even before that , that I was free and in JESUS's care and had the real Love of GOD to lead my way. He accused me of reading anti mormon things, which I had not done. So I got online and looked for what the real beliefs of the Church were. I was sick, how had I who always knew and loved GOD and JESUS been so blindly lead astray ? It was then that I was SURE of the feelings and beliefs GOD had lead me to. I knew I was no longer following a blind faith full of wholes, and that no matter what happened I was free and Saved. My family wasn't at all happy and all made it clear they felt I was wrong, but I knew my own truths and freedom and JOY and I was willing to lose all to have GOD and JESUS CHRIST as my savior to pave my way back into GODS presence. I remember the day months later when the letter finally came. THE VERY BEST GIFT I ever held. GODS gift of HIS only son was the greatest, but this one I could hold and treasure. My freedom from the lies. My release from fear.
Mr. Lamborn, I found your youtube documentary today. I was amazed at how you spoke and the truths you revieled. I also knew how you felt , the JOY once it was done. Thank you so much for showing me and others the true gift of Freedom. Thank you for allowing me to know another who feels as I do. Thank you for your time and efforts to expose the lies. GOD bless you always. Sincerely Jean.

C. Jones

After years of little festering questions and doubts, I am only now beginning my journey of inquiry. Some of my children have preceeded me, and from that I take strength, yet the steps are difficult and the sadness is real. The more I learn, the more foolish I feel to have swallowed so much for so long with so little resistance. Things that are available today in print and on the web were not accessible 40 years ago. What other religion on earth makes you feel so wrong to question, punishes you for seeking the truth, and destroys your self esteem when you follow your thirst for knowledge, all the while teaching that knowledge is godlike, etc.? What other religion causes its former members to feel the need for support groups? Its power over us is remarkable, and difficult to separate from. I appreciate that someone could face the music with such grace, and give voice to the things that bother so many who have been faithful for so long, only to ultimately conclude we have been misled. Thanks for your courage and example. I hope I can be as well spoken, carefully researched and thought out, and as gracious to my ultimate jurors. I do know where this will end. And it shouldn't be that way. Cathy

Jacob

i might describe members as Voluntary North Koreans....who obediently self-censor and obey all the unnatural and unjust restrictions imposed by the clergy such as "only listen to the official party line and disregard all other sources of information" If the church truly believes that "truth shall prevail" and "light dispels darkness" - why the paranoia about open discussion and debate? The Apostles used to have public debates in the tabernacle (eg Talmage on Evolution against the clergy). Now the members may not query anything without being branded as 'apostate' for thinking and researching? its disgusting and goes against core values of any decent religion. Then again, we could hardly expect the clergy to thank Martin Luther for telling the truth......DC 121:39 says it all.....the organisation is entirely self-serving and only benefits members to the extent necessary to build the dynasty/empire. Follow the Profits...
Thanks Lyndon - stuff the Thought Police!

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